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What is the difference between Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

  • Published: January 30, 2012

The Social Security Administration manages two programs that provide benefits based on disability or blindness:  the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

SSDI provides benefits to disabled or blind individuals who are “insured” by workers’ contributions to the Social Security trust fund. This program is financed with Social Security taxes paid by workers, employers, and self-employed persons. These individuals have worked recently enough and long enough (normally, 40 quarters of work and disability beginning within 5 years of the qualifying work), to become eligible. SSDI operates like a private Florida disability insurance policy. Your Social Security contributions are based on your earnings and your Social Security taxes are deducted from your paycheck, in the same way that you would pay premiums on an insurance policy. Consequently, if you stop working and, therefore, stop paying Social Security taxes, your insured status will lapse, just as it would on a private policy if you stopped paying the premiums. The amount of the monthly disability benefit is based on the Social Security earnings record of the insured worker.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

In comparison to SSDI, SSI is a needs-based program that pays Florida disability benefits. SSI benefits are not based on your prior work history. Rather, the Federal Government funds SSI from general tax revenues. You must meet the following basic criteria to qualify for SSI:

  1. You are disabled or blind.
  2. You have limited income.
  3. You have limited assets.

The Social Security regulations define “disability” and establish how much income and assets you can have and still be eligible for the program.

If you would like more information about Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) cases, contact experienced Ocala Social Security disability attorney CJ Henry for a consultation. Complete the form on this page or call (352) 304-5300.

Claudeth Henry

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